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Game 54: Nats at Astros

Jun 2, 2010, 9:00 PM EDT


Photo courtesy Houston Astros
The Nats look to shake off last night's tough loss at Minute Maid Park.

What a tough way to lose last night. After falling behind early, the Nationals rallied to take a 7-6 lead in the top of the ninth, only to watch as the Astros stole the game back and won 8-7 on Lance Berkman's two-out, two-strike, two-run single in the bottom of the ninth.

A couple of thoughts about the way the game ended: 1) Yes, Berkman went around on that check swing and should have been called out, ending the game. 2) You can't blame it all on that missed call, because the Nats had plenty of other chances to win the game without that play. 3) Matt Capps really only made one mistake the entire inning, on the double by Cory Sullivan. He was done in by Ryan Zimmerman's error, an intentional walk and a very nice piece of hitting by Berkman on that final pitch (which was low and out of the strike zone). 4) The Nats had some golden opportunities to pad their lead in the eighth and ninth but got some poor at-bats from Adam Kennedy, Cristian Guzman, Josh Willingham and Alberto Gonzalez.

So instead of going for their third straight tonight, the Nationals will look to bounce back from yet another tough, one-run loss. John Lannan faces Wandy Rodriguez in a matchup of left-handers.

I didn't make the trip to Houston with the club, so there will be no in-game updates. As always, please feel free to converse with each other throughout…

NATIONALS at ASTROS
Where: Minute Maid Park
Gametime: 8:05 p.m.
TV: MASN2-HD
Radio: WFED-1500 AM, WWFD-820 AM
Weather: Partly cloudy, 86 degrees, Wind 8 mph out to CF

STARTING LINEUPS
NATIONALS (26-27)
CF Nyjer Morgan
2B Cristian Guzman
1B Adam Dunn
3B Ryan Zimmerman

Read more »

  1. Traveler8 - Jun 2, 2010 at 9:33 PM

    I concede that I did not see the game, but fail to understand how we could have a 7-6 lead but lose 8-6.

  2. Doc - Jun 2, 2010 at 9:39 PM

    All the things that you said about the game are true Mark. Still, in all, it was neat the way they came back. Good teams come back like that. Some good at bats, and some weak at bats. Capps wasn't as bad as the result would indicate. He made some good pitches.

  3. MikeHarris - Jun 2, 2010 at 10:08 PM

    What's up with Michael Morse? When did he get away from Mike? Mike is a perfectly fine moniker. I'm a little hot under the collar by this, you know?SignedMichael Harris

  4. Grandstander - Jun 2, 2010 at 10:39 PM

    The way I hear it, he was tired of being monosyllabic. Glad to see him in the lineup against the lefty. He at least stands a chance.It's kind of funny to look at the bottom of our lineup and groan, and then look at the bottom of their lineup and suddenly not mind.

  5. MikeHarris - Jun 2, 2010 at 10:44 PM

    I'm also ticked he cut his hair.Why doesn't monosyllabic only have one syllabel? Odd that a word that describes ONE should have five?I'm getting punch drunk waiting for Tuesday.Trivia: Can you name the diet soft drink with 11 syllabels? Is that how you spell syllabels?

  6. Slidell - Jun 2, 2010 at 10:53 PM

    "syllable"; took me two tries to get it. (spell check)

  7. Anonymous - Jun 2, 2010 at 10:58 PM

    Still, in all, it was neat the way they came back. Good teams come back like that.Its extremely galling … exasperating perhaps is a better word? That Jim Bowden turned out to be right when he said that by the end of May the Nats would be in the NL East basement without additional help from outside.

  8. Anonymous - Jun 2, 2010 at 11:22 PM

    Anon – You lost me at Jim Bowden.

  9. NeedANatsFix - Jun 2, 2010 at 11:36 PM

    Mark, any news on Detwiler and Wang? Are they throwing at all, long toss, off a mound, live hitters? Any ideas when we might start seeing them show up in a MiLB box score?

  10. Harry - Jun 2, 2010 at 11:58 PM

    Detwiler just told Johnny and Phil that he will make his first rehab start Wed June 9 for the P-Nats.

  11. K.D. - Jun 3, 2010 at 12:25 AM

    FYI, Tigers and Indians have an interesting game going on through 7th.

  12. Sunderland - Jun 3, 2010 at 12:31 AM

    I heard Willie Harris wants to change his last name too.He thought something with about 11 syllabelles would sound nice.

  13. Andrew - Jun 3, 2010 at 12:35 AM

    Former Nats farmhand Armando Galaraga has quite the game going in Detroit against Acta's squad.

  14. K.D. - Jun 3, 2010 at 12:42 AM

    Make that through 8 innings.

  15. Sunderland - Jun 3, 2010 at 12:43 AM

    Armando Galaraga, 75 pitches through 8 innings. Gotta love that.

  16. Anonymous - Jun 3, 2010 at 12:50 AM

    8 2/3 perfect, then a single

  17. Anonymous - Jun 3, 2010 at 1:00 AM

    That wasn't a single. That was a worse call then last night's check swing.

  18. Anonymous - Jun 3, 2010 at 1:08 AM

    It's beginning to feel like old times.In spring training we looked like a FAST team that would play great DEFENSE. Now we barely steal bases and make lots of stupid errors.We're reverting to the team that takes cold-hitting players and heats them up.We make clown-losers like Wandy look like Cy Young. This joker has struck out SIX of ten outs in this game!We heat up cold teams.We keep things really close, then do just enough to lose at the end.We believe we can win in MLB without a right fielder. Our pitchers and pinch-hitters fail to get down sacrifice bunts.We choke with the bases loaded.Strasbug cannot fix all this himself.

  19. Anonymous8 - Jun 3, 2010 at 1:30 AM

    Back to the Nats game…………..8th walk for Zim in the series so far

  20. Brian - Jun 3, 2010 at 1:32 AM

    What is up with the umpires in MLB? That was an obvious blown call that cost Detroit a perfect game. Come on, on the last out of a perfect game, the ump should have made the right call, even if there was the slightest bit of doubt.

  21. Brian - Jun 3, 2010 at 1:35 AM

    Wow, what an interesting scenario – MASN breaks to commercial, thinking Hammer struck out, but it was catcher's interference. The Nats get new life in this inning…

  22. Anonymous - Jun 3, 2010 at 1:53 AM

    I'm switching over to the O's game. It's way more fun to watch the Orioles lose than to watch the Nats lose.

  23. Anonymous8 - Jun 3, 2010 at 2:00 AM

    Orioles are now 15-38

  24. meixler - Jun 3, 2010 at 2:35 AM

    Have we just been overrating the Nats all season? I remember people talking about sweeping the Astros… now we'll be playing for a series tie tomorrow. Cheese And Crackers!

  25. Anonymous - Jun 3, 2010 at 2:41 AM

    Meixler, it started yesterday in the 1st inning of the game, giving the worst hitting team in the league some confidence.Bad time to do it.

  26. Anonymous - Jun 3, 2010 at 2:48 AM

    This is really pathetic. Hapless, lifeless. The comparisons of Desmond to Jeter are starting to die down a bit. The Nats are one injury away from another 100-loss season. Strasburg can look forward to lots of 2-1 losses, with the two runs unearned thanks to his team's defense.

  27. K.D. - Jun 3, 2010 at 2:56 AM

    Desmond looks like he needs a day off, no excuse but it has been a long road trip. Focus has definitely been a challenge for a few position players. Is it just me or does Lannan need to work quicker to keep the guys behind him in the game and on their toes.

  28. Cwj - Jun 3, 2010 at 6:14 AM

    Hahaha Doomsday for the Nats at 26-28? Everything evens out in the end. The Nats are a team on the rise, but they are not playoff contenders just yet…I believe the earliest predictions were for 2012.

  29. Anonymous - Jun 3, 2010 at 9:56 AM

    IMO they need Pudge back… it's very simple, they've been away from him too long. Not just for his attitude but because he is so much better than the rest of our catchers.

  30. Andrew - Jun 3, 2010 at 12:07 PM

    Cwj – With so much parity in the NL this year, I still think the Nats can knock off a long winning streak and go after the Wild Card.2011 I think is certainly in reach for a serious run. Rizzo knows where his holes are and he also needs to take care of a few contract extensions. I am one that believes Adam Dunn is an integral part of the success and needs a contract extension.

  31. K.D. - Jun 3, 2010 at 12:37 PM

    They need to do whatever it takes to tighten up the defense. If by the Allstar break that has not happened, all the good pitching (even Strasburg) in the world won't get you the Wild Card.

  32. N. Cognito - Jun 3, 2010 at 12:51 PM

    K.D. said… "They need to do whatever it takes to tighten up the defense. If by the Allstar break that has not happened, all the good pitching (even Strasburg) in the world won't get you the Wild Card."This season has been a lot more fun than the last 2-3 years but an objective evaluation of the Nats says they're not true competitors for the WC.The Nats have some hitting but they still have way, way too many at bats where they get themselves out. Desmond is beginning to remind me a little of a non-muscular Elijah Dukes – trying to pull everything. Unless you're an elite hitter, that's a recipe for a short career.

  33. NatsJack in Florida - Jun 3, 2010 at 1:14 PM

    N. Cognito… good call on Desmond. He needs to take breaking and off speed stuff up the middle and to right field. The whole team strikes out too much.And speaking of strike outs, J. Max went 3 for 5 last nite in Sryacuse ( no hits but 3 K's).

  34. Anonymous8 - Jun 3, 2010 at 1:28 PM

    NatsJack, don't you mean JMax was 0-5?

  35. A DC Wonk - Jun 3, 2010 at 1:35 PM

    I agree with Cwj: "The Nats are a team on the rise, but they are not playoff contenders just yet."If we're not happy with 26-28, remember that at one point last year we were 26-66 (!!). You don't go from back-to-back 100+ loss seasons to the post-season in one year.As for Desmond, most SS's make lots of errors their rookie year. Starting pitching: With Strassy coming up, and a future that may include some of the following: Zimmermann, Wang, Olsen, Detwiler, & Marquis (to add to Livan, Lannon, and perhaps JD Martin) — that certainly looks promising. Relief pitching actually has been pretty good, and Storen ought to get better with experience. Pudge won't continue to hit .320, but he'll be a huge step up in catching, both offensively and defensively from what we have.If just some of those pitchers pan out, then perhaps we are only one outfielder away from having a truly solid post-season team.In the meantime, enjoy that we're on the upswing. Sure, it'll be frustrating at times (like last night), but it's light years ahead of last year.

  36. NatsJack in Florida - Jun 3, 2010 at 1:51 PM

    Anonymous8… No.. I keep his strike out average instead of his batting average. With hits he's always O'fer or 1'fer but with K's he's always at least 2'fer.Between Nats and Syracuse he's striking out at a better than .350 pace.

  37. NatsJack in Florida - Jun 3, 2010 at 1:56 PM

    I just updated his stike out average and J. Max is now at .364.

  38. Steve M. - Jun 3, 2010 at 3:34 PM

    NatsJack – THAT IS HILARIOUS!!! and SAD. I hate laughing at the expense of others but that is too funny and sad.As has been said before, Rizzo has (had) a mancrush on JMax. That is the only reasonable explanation with the Plan B he had in place for RF when they let Elijah Dukes go.JMax did nothing in Spring Training and since then. He has regressed as a hitter to a point he doesnt even belong in AAA. He looked disinterested when he is in the dugout in DC which is probably the fact he hated riding the pine.Brandon "Boomer" Whiting is doing well with his promotion, but I am still scratching my head about him. Fast kid with good contact but hadn't hit for average (doing well at Syracuse so far) although he draws alot of walks and has a nice OBP. They take him from "A" ball hitting .225 and move him straight up to "AAA". Big promotion. So Mark, what is the backstory on Boomer Whiting? Most thought he was a temp on loan while Maxwell took his time getting back to Syracuse.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 58 48 --
ATLANTA 58 51 1.5
MIAMI 53 55 6.0
NEW YORK 52 56 7.0
PHILADELPHIA 48 61 11.5
Through Thursday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
FRI: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SUN: Phillies at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
MON: Orioles at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
TUE: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
WED: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
THU: Mets at Nats, 12:35 p.m.
Full season schedule

Mark joins Rob Carlin and Joe Orsulak every Thursday at 4 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet for a half-hour show on the Nats, Orioles and rest of MLB. Re-airs Thursdays at 11:30 p.m., Saturdays at 9 a.m. and Sundays at 11:30 a.m.

ON THE RADIO

As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...

MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.

*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.

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